A Toaster, Cookies, Salt And Pepper From Amazon: Century Council Member Questions Town’s Online Purchases

July 21, 2021

Why can’t the Town of Century make more purchases locally, rather than ordering online from Amazon?

That’s a question council member Dynette Lewis has posed at their last two meetings.

The monthly bill lists for the town list about $2,450 in purchases from Amazon.com, including salt and pepper in a month.

“It’s ridiculous that we are ordering salt and pepper from Amazon,” Lewis said. “Somebody can take the time to go to the Dollar General store to purchase some of this stuff that is on this list.”

One month’s Amazon purchases have include some office supplies that may not be readily available in Century, but also several items that are sold in the town. Purchases have included: air freshener, muffins, Nestle Pure Life water, toner, cookies, a toaster, a $100 air fryer oven, file folders, copy paper, ink cartridges, other office supplies, toilet paper, a vacuum cleaner, and a can opener.

Mayor Ben Boutwell said the town will look at making purchases from local business when practical.

Pictured: Century council member Dynette Lewis at a recent council meeting. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.


38 Responses to “A Toaster, Cookies, Salt And Pepper From Amazon: Century Council Member Questions Town’s Online Purchases”

  1. David Huie Green on July 27th, 2021 9:01 am

    “Why an Air Fryer???”

    To fry air.

    (Much harder than it looks, hard to meal the air, hard to keep the air in the grease)

  2. Mary H Bourgeois on July 24th, 2021 4:36 pm

    Why an Air Fryer???

  3. Julie Booth-Moran on July 24th, 2021 12:45 am

    It would be nice if “ Shopping local” became first choice for all the Town of Century, all the businesses, their owners & the employees. Just in the items named above, we sell muffins, cookies, bottled water, & air fresheners, cleaning products, toilet paper, paper towels, just to name a few items. We are truly LOCAL, where as CVS, General Dollar, Family Dollar are not. The employees that work there may spend their paychecks locally but the stores are chains so the sales go to headquarters. So that money doesn’t stay in the community. Great article…. Btw, Food Giant is owned by its employees. #Shoplocalfirst

  4. Take 6 on July 22nd, 2021 11:22 pm

    I said I would be watching and Century you are going to have to do better. That is very wasteful and I see why we have financial problems. That’s very wasteful. Seems as though management Has Hollywood appetite on a welfare budget. Now we know you got some fresh stacks of money coming, and the way things are going it will last no time

  5. SH on July 22nd, 2021 7:57 pm

    Meh, seems like a lot of fuss over a little issue.

    Sure, makes sense to buy local if all other things are equal. I’d rather not pay somebody to leave the office and go shopping if they can order it online for cheaper and have it delivered.

    I can’t imagine you can save enough on $2,450 in purchases to make it worthwhile to take up time at a town council meeting.

  6. Reader on July 22nd, 2021 1:24 pm

    “WOW, I’m not from Century but I could spend one month with them and they would be BUYING Local”

    I understand the thought, but if “local” is limited to the town of Century, as implied by Ms. Lewis, there are few places to choose from. A Family Dollar, Dollar General, CVS, Century Pharmacy and the Food Giant. Not practical places to purchase bulk copy paper, ink, etc like normally used in an office. IF they carried copy paper, for instance, t would be in single reams and thus overpriced. They probably don’t stock the necessary ink and toner cartridges.

    Purchasing an air fryer or toaster for commercial use at a dollar store is probably not advisable. Their cheaper units are not designed that well; they are just cheap.

    If they expand “local” to Escambia County, it’s not practical to drive a 1.5 to 2 hour trip to Pensacola to purchase a toaster vs. buying it from Amazon delivered to the door.

    They also need to check their fire and liability insurance…many commercial policies will not allow items like a toaster or air fryer in kitchen.

  7. Patricia Short on July 22nd, 2021 12:42 pm

    WOW, I’m not from Century but I could spend one month with them and they would be BUYING Local. A little planning ahead with local companies and things run smooth. I can’t believe Lowes or ANY corporate store is not set up for TAX EXEMPT companies, for surely these types of companies use Lowes and others.

    The City should have an authorized Petty Cash fund. I’m assuming a responsible adult and not some kid in high school would be responsible for the PC fund. You give the petty cash & receipt it & they sign for it. They have 24 hours to bring the receipt back or if not then bring back the petty cash. THEY ARE ADULTS WHO APPLIED FOR A JOB, THEY SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. If they cannot handle the responsibility of the job then move on and let someone who can have the job.

    The Council should pass a ordinance/law with a list of items that can be purchased with petty cash without approval from the Council. Items like Toasters, Air Fryers etc.. should be submitted to the Council for approval prior to purchasing.


    KUDOS to council member Ms Dynette Lewis for actually doing her job.

  8. Seriously on July 22nd, 2021 12:11 pm

    Toner? Like makeup Toner? $100 Air fryer?
    Yea. Every office needs one of those to make it thru the day. Air freshener? I can see why that was bought. Something certainly stinks in Century’s leadership as far as finances for sure. Who is suppose to “OK” these purchases? Or is it just a “get it if u want it ” type of situation? Shoot, I’d like to go to work for them!!

  9. gubment employee on July 22nd, 2021 8:20 am

    Having worked for gubment at many levels (federal, state, county, and city), I know how archaic and convoluted the purchasing processes can be. Running down to the local store to purchase something is not always the easiest or most efficient way to get things. Once, I took my government credit card to Lowe’s to make some minor hardware purchases that were needed for our office. In addition to travel time, it took the Lowe’s employees nearly an hour to figure out how to make the sale without charging tax. From then on, Amazon was my first choice for using the card… no travel time, no waiting in long lines (while on the clock getting paid), no waiting for retail employees to figure out a fairly simple transaction made difficult by their corporate POS systems. So, no need to question why they are using Amazon… they are probably doing the taxpayers a favor by doing so. If you want to question the items purchased, go ahead.

  10. Alan on July 22nd, 2021 1:05 am

    @DLo – I have been making that same comment on this website for a few years now. Dissolve the charter and let the county have it.

  11. M IN Bratt on July 21st, 2021 6:57 pm

    The question I have is; Who is in charge at city hall? I thought the hiring of Mr. Prather was going to fix all this stuff. Whomever is taking this stuff home should be in jail. I cannot imagine the need for an air fryer at city hall. Maybe it was for somebody a nice wedding present.

  12. GEEZE on July 21st, 2021 4:37 pm

    Atleast their are receipts. Wasn’t a couple of years ago plane tickets were purchased for “business representatives /opportunities ” that no one had receipts for or even proof of? But hey, apples and oranges right? I’d much rather see receipts for employees that are working for the town than receipts for imaginary business prospects of airline tickets. Just Saying.Eveybody is a critic.

  13. BIG JOHN on July 21st, 2021 4:36 pm


  14. Sam I Am on July 21st, 2021 3:37 pm

    Obviously, break rooms need simple accommodations for their employees; not everyone can afford to dine out.
    Capitalism runs the country and purchasing from the most economic source helps minimize the taxes. Does the average family purchase their necessities from the most reasonable vendor…, I do. I also attempt to support the local community when possible, however most local businesses are owned by major corporations I. E.
    Family Dollar and Dollar General. Is it reasonable to tax the whole community when these corporations are supported by the local citizens anyway.
    Ask yourself….. where do you buy your gasoline? Do you shop at Walmart or Publix’s?

  15. LOL on July 21st, 2021 3:18 pm

    “When practical”.

    Sounds like a politician’s answer.

  16. chris on July 21st, 2021 1:01 pm

    “unqualified people from a tiny population to work in a useless layer of government”
    This should become Century’s town motto.

  17. Jeff on July 21st, 2021 12:16 pm

    Actually, a lot of things are cheaper or the same price on Amazon. Add to that free shipping and 5% back if you use the rewards card PLUS saving time and gas to go to the local store. A lot of times local shops can’t compete with that bulk purchasing power. I totally understand wanting to keep money in the community but it’s actually more fiscaly responsable to shop where the best price is.

  18. SaltyFishNuggets on July 21st, 2021 11:52 am

    Isn’t Century being audited and under fire for much more seriois allegations, and recently hired, fired, and rehired an employee who committed several crimes? Didn’t they shoot down multiple business opportunities and grants due to the nature of businesses and foundations?

    Y’all worried about city workers using salt and pepper, but weren’t you just talking about spending THOUSANDS of dollars on fireworks?

    Okay. Yeah. That makes sense.
    People who collect revenue and hold the daily functionality of the city together don’t need water or a vaccum to clean city property, but you need to display superiority over Flomaton with a firework show and a former drug crazed employee who drives vehicles into ponds.

  19. Denny on July 21st, 2021 11:01 am

    Using taxpayer funds for food purchases was strictly prohibited at every government office I worked at. Shoulda worked for Century!

  20. Town Resident on July 21st, 2021 10:47 am

    I totally agree with Council Member Lewis. Those purchases are totally absurd. The fact that those who ordered and authorized the purchase did not see a problem ordering is a major problem. I agree that minor purchases as were ordered could have been purchased locally. Lord knows our town needs more business. I’d love to see the day where our town meetings are not for bickering sessions and mismanagement of funds and are focused more on community-based programs that will ultimately benefit our entire town and its residents.

  21. Molino girl on July 21st, 2021 10:32 am

    They need a Sam’s club membership and it would still be cheaper between the membership and the cost of sending an employee out for 2-3 hours quarterly to buy all the supplies listed that it would to buy it from Amazon. I did the price comparisons… just for example 48 bottles of nestle pure life water…$19.98 from Amazon, 40 pk of the same brand water $3.98 from Sams Club. That amount alone is enough to save approx $150.00 (buying an extra 2 cases to get approximately the same amount of water) That savings alone on just 10 cases of water would pay the membership and an employee to shop….just for the cost of the water alone not to mention all the other supplies like copy paper, pens, condiments, air freshener etc etc. That convenience of Amazon costs.

  22. Kim on July 21st, 2021 10:32 am

    Why are they buying stuff that the town should pay for. Cookies, muffins, toaster, air fryer lol come on. You want snacks you buy them.

  23. Roger on July 21st, 2021 9:46 am

    The simple truth is that the Council demands documentation for every penny spent. it is easier to use purchase orders than to keep up with petty cash receipts. Buying local means someone has to go shopping on city time. Amazon delivers to city hall.

  24. Taylon on July 21st, 2021 9:01 am

    Not going to get into the point of “why” this stuff was bought, but about the Local vs Amazon.

    If you want them to support Local then you can’t complain if they pay more instead of trying to save a few bucks buying from Amazon (with free Prime shipping).

    I don’t really have a huge problem with what they bought, and as much as I like the idea of supporting local when I can I’m only willing to pay so much of a premium before I start looking online for cheaper.

  25. Howie on July 21st, 2021 8:49 am

    If you want salt, pepper, mayo, mustard, ketchup etc … then bring it yourself. SHARE the condiments and next time someone else can buy it. When I worked in a large manuf. facility years ago, each person that drank coffee built a fund to buy the coffee, filters, creamer, sugar. Throwing in some pocket change each day adds up and there was always plenty of money to make purchases, even a new coffee pot at times. We also had a “laid to rest” fund to purchase flowers for funerals. Each employee put in $2.00 per month. When you think about doing this, the money you give is nothing but means something whenever you give it back towards a gift. The Office Manager managed our money funds, but I don’t know about Century council. Too much money is missing from there and I hope Ms. Lewis finds the money spent carelessly.

  26. Judy on July 21st, 2021 8:27 am

    When they need non-office items, such as air freshener, muffins, Nestle Pure Life water, cookies, a toaster, a $100 air fryer oven, toilet paper, a vacuum cleaner, and a can opener, they should take up a collection among those who use them and buy them locally! No wonder the town is broke!

    Thank you Dynette Lewis for alerting us of more wasted funds.

  27. Retired on July 21st, 2021 8:26 am

    Is there no accountability what so ever in this Town council and Mayor. I am a shame of telling anyone that I live in century.

  28. Just me on July 21st, 2021 7:49 am

    Have you ever worked at a place that has a break room?? If, so..you know it has things to be used by the employees. I understand Century does NOT have the best past but sometimes a little common sense needs to be used. They are reamed if they do or dont. Buying from Amazon saves money. Penny here and there but it saves money.. If they would have been seen at a local store then they would get blasted/reamed for that. So what, if they buy cookies. You as an employee or employer..have you never been given cookies for a staff meeting?? I mean really. If your going to complain about something, at least make it legit…This beats all to me. JMO…..

  29. DLo on July 21st, 2021 7:35 am

    Every government office you’ve ever heard of has a break room with a fridge, maybe a toaster oven, a coffee maker, microwave, etc, it’s part of the cost of doing business. When you have an unnecessary layer of government like you have in Century, you get unnecessary offices, with unnecessary personnel, taking unnecessary breaks and drinking unnecessary water and coffee on your dime. The office is the problem, not the supplies. You keep choosing unqualified people from a tiny population to work in a useless layer of government that is…you guessed it, unnecessary. They don’t do anything as efficient as the county could, in fact, they historically have done it terribly, and quite often criminally. The town government should be dissolved, if the charter focus group is not exploring that, they’re doing the people of Century a great disservice.

  30. ProudArmyParent on July 21st, 2021 7:15 am

    Why is the “town” purchasing muffins, Nestle Pure Life water, cookies? These seem like personal purchases!

  31. molino resident on July 21st, 2021 6:59 am

    Way to go. I totally agree. Support local businesses instead of Amazon.

  32. sam on July 21st, 2021 6:29 am

    seems a bit petty but a dollar here and there turns into big money.i like that the council is starting to check on finances.

  33. Anne on July 21st, 2021 5:49 am

    SHOUT OUT to Century Council Member Dynette Lewis…..YES!!!!

    Great questions…..Ma’am, did you ever get an answer?
    Someone, or more, is taking the easy way out with Amazon ordering for local items.
    I’d say this practice calls for an AUDIT to find other holes in the Public Bucket.

  34. Denbroc on July 21st, 2021 4:27 am

    Why shop local and support local businesses when you can shop on Amazon and help pay for Jeff Bezos’ space fantasy?

  35. Greg on July 21st, 2021 3:21 am

    “Why are they “cooking” on the job”? Why would you ask that? Is this a communist country or a third world sweatshop? People have to eat and it’s become so expensive to eat take-out but really? Geeeze! I don’t agree with any of it being purchased from Amazon but lighten up a bit.

  36. area resident on July 21st, 2021 2:05 am

    It’s easy to spend someone else’s money (taxpayer dollars). Who signs off on these expenses? Andy why are they “cooking” on the job? Eat your toast and fry your chicken at home. Why do we only hear of nonsense from Century?

  37. Just A Poor Resident on July 21st, 2021 1:56 am

    A $100 air fryer? A toaster? Brand name bottle water? Good thing they got air freshener. Something about this Amazon shopping with tax dollars stinks!!!!

  38. Abraham Culper on July 21st, 2021 1:54 am

    Tax dollars at work. Glad to see that the town of century “needed” an air fryer and toaster…

    We are out here drinking tap water but it’s good to see they get named brand water and cookies for all the hard hard work they do.

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